Location: Nottingham England, & North America
Surnames/tags: Bilyard Billiald Billiard, Billyard plus Billyeald, Biliard, Billiar, Billyar, and Beliard
Genealogy of the Bilyard family originating in East Markham England and emigrating to North America, first to NY in 1852, then Illinois in 1864.
OUR BILYARD HISTORY
By Lynn Bilyard Bogard 2013
The original spelling of our surname was Billiald !
Recent research has revealed that our name BILYARD was originally BILLIALD. Evidence from official records of estate business, births, deaths, and marriages show that several Billiald families lived in the area known as Great Markham, Nottinghamshire, England as early as 1594, when Robert Billiald, a “yoeman”, was identified in a landholder transaction in the tiny village West Markham, Nottinghamshire, England. By 1639 about a mile away in East Markham several Billiald families were living and this continued to be the largest cluster of Billiald families through the late 1700’s. The records also show several Billiald men and women living in other small villages in the immediate Markham area, particularly Fledborough and Worksop.
It appears most families retained the Billiald spelling until at least the early 1700’s. With new combinations of letters to form a similar phonetic pronuncuation, a transition to Billiard and eventually Billyard occurred in many families. An interesting observation is that the same individuals can be viewed in different family trees using a variety of the spellings, including Billiald, Billiard, Billyard plus Billyeald, Biliard, Billiar, Billyar, and Beliard. They all sound very much alike, especially wi th various accents and dialects within England! (This nugget of information was provided by a distant cousin Sharon Brown, who lives in England)
Around 1800 ‘Billyard’ first appeared in families in the East Markham area. The biggest factor for this change may have been the French Revolution (1789-1799). French-appearing surnames (such as a name ending in ‘-iard’) would have been considered a disadvantage in England so many families made small spelling changes. (This nugget of information also provided by distant cousin Sharon Brown)
William Bilyard, our first ancestor to come to America, was recorded in a 1847 handwritten marriage record as William Bilyard. A few years later on the Guy Mannering ship manifest he was William Billiard. In the Avon, New York 1860 census, the name was spelled Byiliard! In his first Illinois census in 1870 he was again listed as William Bilyard. Whether these differences reflect how he actually spelled his name or are due to recorders versions or transcription ‘errors’ is not known.
Growing up I was always told that any Bilyard spelled ‘Bilyard’ is closely related. The Bilyard’s in the Kankakee Co., Illinois area are certainly related through our William Bilyard.
There are other Bilyard/Billyard/Billiard families clustered on the East Coast, though I have yet to connect them to our Illinois Bilyards. Perhaps we are related. I do know of Billyard’s in Canada with which we share common Nottinghamshire ancestors. I will continue the challenging research of these and other possible modern branches.
From England to Illinois
William Bilyard and his young family were the first of our direct line to immigrate to the United States. Born in East Markham, Nottinghamshire, England, in 1818 to parents who lived in the Great Markham area for at least 3 (probably more) previous generations. William’s marriage to Mary Anne Alcock was recorded in the Marriage Index of the June Quarter 1847 in the District of Newark, Lincolnshire/Nottinghamshire. According to United Kingdom 1851 census records William was an “agricultural labourer”, implying he did not own his own land.
William, Mary Anne and their 2 oldest children Mary Anne and John Thomas, left England on the ship Guy Mannering, arriving in New York on June 10, 1852. William and Mary Anne lived about ten years in New York State. The family is listed in the 1860 census of the town of Avon in Livingston County, New York, with children Mary A. age 11, John age 8, William, age 6, Charlotte E. age 2, and George age 6 months. Samuel was born there in 1862. The family arrived in Bourbonnais, Kankakee County, Illinois sometime before 1864, when their daughter Sarah was born in ~1864. By that time they are listed in the 1880 census. Their last child Fred followed in ~1871. When William Bilyard brought his young family to Bourbonnais, Illinois, the village and surrounding area was steeping with folks with French surnames. The village was named after Francois Bourbonnais, Sr., a fur trapper, hunter and agent of the American Fur Company, who had arrived in the area in 1830. Known originally as Bourbonnais Grove, it became the Village of Bourbonnais in 1876. The pronunciation of Bourbonnais came to be Anglicized over time to ‘burr bow ness’, but in 1974 a resolution "corrected" to its original French pronunciation: ‘burr bon-nay’. My father Donald Bilyard and his cousins grew up pronouncing it the Anglicized way. William and Mary Anne homesteaded a large parcel of land near the Kankakee River. Over a century and half the farm had a variety of horses and livestock as well as crops, including corn, soy beans, wheat and hay. William and Mary Anne first built a home west of Flickerville Road north of Route 102. At some time they relocated to the southwest side of the parcel to face Route 102. Here they built a two-story home that burned around 1899 and then a new single story-home was built on the original foundation in 1900. This home still sits on that old foundation, it’s modern postal address 4891 West State Route 102. It was listed in the 1917 Prairie Farmer's Directory of Kankakee County as owned by William’s son John Thomas Bilyard and passed through a few other Bilyard families until 2013.
According to the 1870 census of Rockville township, Kankakee County, William and Mary Anne Bilyard were living at home John age 18, William age 16, Samuel age 7, Sarah F. age 5, with Charlotte and George not present and assumed had passed away sometime between the 1860 and 1870 census’s. Ten years later the 1880 census of Rockville township, Kankakee County, William and Mary Anne Bilyard were living at home with Samuel age 17, Sarah age 15, and Fred age 9 (he was missing in the 1870 record!); the older children were no longer living at home. It is interesting to note that a family listed two rows below the Bilyard family in 1880 was the Jacob Cox family …. Samuel, our direct ancestor, would marry daughter Alberta Cox a few years later.
From the union of Samuel and Alberta were six children: Oliver (1884), Myrtle (1889), Earl (1891), my grandfather George Oscar (1892), Howard (1899), and Dorothy (1906). Many of the descendants of these 6 children, as well as their cousins, continue to live in the rural area, some within a mile of the original homestead.
What’s in a Name?
An interesting line of thought to consider in discovering our history might be in looking at the root words used in our name:
European surnames were often given as nicknames that gave reference to a variety of physical or personal characteristics, habits of dress, or occupation; ‘bill-’ is a suffix word that can mean spear or shafted weapon and ‘–ard’, as a French root adapted from the Germanic, means “hardy or bold”. The suffix ‘iard’ is also a relatively common root ending for French surnames; The suffix ‘-ard’ can also mean ‘son of” in many European cultures; Comments on the English origin of the name found at www.surnamedb.com: Bilyard / Billyard / Billiard Recorded in many spelling forms including Bullard, Ballard, Belward, Bellyard, Billiard, Billyard, and Bellard, this is an early English surname. It is or rather was, a nickname …. in this case the derivation … from the Middle English word "balle" (referring to) a hairless patch on the skull, and therefore probably a reference to a monk or holy man.
Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
Excerpts except italics from www.surnamedb.com According to http://www.houseofnames.com/billiard-family-crest/French “Billiard is a French topographical surname, which is a type of hereditary surname.” Topographic names were given to a person who resided near a physical feature such as a hill, stream, church, stand of trees, etc. Perhaps Billiard/Bilyard could mean a ‘bold spear’ or possibly ‘one who bears a hardy spear’, or ‘son of the bold spear bearer’! Or maybe ‘son of bald spear bearer’! ; Many Belgian surnames are of French origin yet according to http://www.eupedia.com/belgium/belgian_surnames.shtml many Walloon surnames had medieval German origins and end in ‘-art’ or ‘-ard’. I mention this because a line of Belgian’s from Walloonia named Belliare became Bilyard after they immigrated to Norfolk region of England in the mid-1600’s. No connection to this group, as our line has adults named in historical records placing them in the same area in the late 1590’s.
Such a tangle of ideas!
We may never really know our name’s origin. Could it have originated in France or Belgium? Or was it English in the first place? To be sure, the origin of our name Bilyard is open for discussion, speculation, and old-fashioned guessing!
Early Billiald Roots ~ a collection of clues
Until very recently, I only searched our family using the most modern spelling version of BILYARD. Through rediscovering lost emails with valuable hints I learned the family used older versions of the name prior to 1800, in particular Billiald …. and then Pandora’s Box Opened!!!!
Connecting the early Billiald’s of the Great Markham area of Nottinghamshire to known forefathers in the late 1700’s and 1800’s to family of our William Bilyard is not the real challenge... they had not ventured away from the area. The challenge has been to find direct lines of those ancestors to our known ancestors.
As far back as 1594 the Billiald surname is found in numerous documents in the The National Archives of England, University of Nottingham’s Manuscripts and Special Collections (MSS) and several Registers in the County of Nottinghamshire.
Sampling of DOCUMENTS FROM Manuscripts and Special Collections of University of Nottingham:
Brackets [ ] are in original transcribed documents, placed by the transcriber
- Robert Billiald, yeoman, marriage to Philp. Crumwell “maide” in West Markham
- Martin Bellialde, yeoman, marriage to Elizabeth Cotes in Worksop
- Katherine Billialde of Little Markham [East Markham] marriage to Peter Wood at Weston
1598 – 1642
- Thomas Billiald estate business- land in Markham Clinton [West Markham] and Milton to John Holles 1st Earl of Clare (mss-cat# Ne D 2408-2419)
- Robert Billiald occupying property in Markham Clinton [West Markham] on adjoinging land of in an inheritance settlement of Sir John Holles.; (mss-cat Ne S52/1-2)
- Richard Billiald and Robert Belialde estate business – conveyance of messuage and land from Robert to Richard concerning Bevercotes Meadow of Mylneton [Milton] and West Drayton Farm. (mss-cat #Ne D 2678)
- William Belialde assigned by Robert Belialde “as my true lawful attorney…” (Ne D 2680)
- Robert Belialde [Billiald], yeoman, of Little Markham [West Markham] feoffment of a messuage or tenement in Mylneton [Milton] to Richard Belialde [Billiald], tanner, of Mylneton [Milton]
- Richard and John Billiald church business in West Markham (AN/PB 339/9/47)
- John Billiald, son Henry christened, West Markham
- Richard Billiald marriage to Mary B East Markham
- William Billiald son William christened,, East Markham
- Grant from King Charles I, King of England, Scotland, France and Ireland, of the wardship of Thomas Billiald, son of the late Richard Billiald, to John Billiald; 12 May 1631
List of Documents found: http://mss-cat.nottingham.ac.uk (estate business unless otherwise noted)
Year Catalog Number Person 1605 Ne S 52/1-2 Robert 1605 Ne S 53 Robert 1615 Ne D 2678 Robert and Richard 1616 Ne D 2459 Robert 1616 Ne D 2680 Robert and William 1626 AN/PB 339/9/47 Richard church business 1631 Ne D 2411 John, late Richard, child Thomas warded to John by King Charles I Court of Wards 1637 Ne D 2681 Thomas (son/heir of Richard), John 1637 Ne D 2682 Thomas (son/heir of Richard), John 1638 NeD 2683-2685 John, Thomas 1638 John, Thomas church fine 1638 Ne S 80 John 1639 Ne D 2383 Thomas and John Billiald 1642 Ne D 2413 Thomas ‘the younger’ 1650 Ne D 2272-2273 Nathaniel 1655 De A 6/4 Nathaniel 1682 AN/LB 231/244 Wm Biliald EM ‘clandestine marriage’ to Eizabeth
from http//:National Archives.gov.uk
1752 157 DD/P/7/25 William mention of Robin Hood’s Close 3 acres; Clipston Manor Court 1752 157 DD/P/7/26 William ‘common recovery in Clipston Manor Court to Countess Dowager of Oxford and Mortimer 1788 Richard Settlement Certificate for Richard and spouse Eleanor and 4 children; East
Markham to West Markham
Location of Fathers and christening of Children (males mostly) :
- WM= West Markham
- EM= East Markham
Found as Billiald unless otherwise noted (Year listed is year of christening of the child; christenings are not always in village abode but in nearby parish) (MOTHER NOTED IF IN RECORD)
Year Father Village Child 1626 JOHN EM HENRY 1638 WILLIAM WM GEORGE 1639 WILLIAM EM WILLIAM
1663 ROBERT WM JOHN mother Anne Burnes 1663 THOMAS EM EDMOND 1668 NATHANIEL F NATHANIEL
1670 JOHN W JOHN 1671 WILLIAM EM MARY 1674 JOHN W ROBERT d. 1684 1677 JOHN W THOMAS 1678 WILLIAM EM WILLIAM 1679 JAMES EM THOMAS
1681 JOHN W JOSEPH 1682 WILLIAM EM HENRY 1686 HUGH WEL THOMAS 1688 HUGH WEL WILLIAM
1692 NATHANIEL F RICHARD MOTHER MARY 1696 NATHANIEL F NATHANIEL d. 1767 1696 THOMAS EM WILLIAM 1698 JAMES Edwinstowe JAMES 1698 THOMAS EM JOSEPH (THOMAS the FATHER WAS THOMAS B. 1679) 1698 NATHANIEL F NATHANIEL MOTHER MARY
1701 NATHANIEL * THOMAS MOTHER ANN *CHRISTENED IN SUTTON-ON-TRENT
1712 THOMAS EM JOHN 1712 THOMAS EM SAMUEL 1716 THOMAS EM THOMAS 1719~ EM JOHN
1729 NATHANIEL F WILLIAM MOTHER MARY H.
1730 WILLIAM EM JOHN MOTHER ELIZABETH 1733 NATHANIEL F JOHN MOTHER MARY 1738 NATHANIEL F THOMAS MOTHER MARY 1738 WILLIAM EM THOMAS
1742 SAMUEL EM SAML (MOTHER MARGARET) 1742 NATHANIEL F NATHANIEL AND WILLIAM (twins??) mother Mary 1745 NATHANIEL F GEORGE MOTHER MARY 1748 WILLIAM EM WILLIAM MOTHER MARTHA? 1748 RICHARD EM WILLIAM MOTHER MARTHA?
1750 SAMUEL EM THOMAS MOTHER MARY? 1750 JOHN EM THOMAS MOTHER MARY? 1754 RICHARD EM RICHARD MOTHER MARTHA 1756 THOMAS EM THOMAS 1756 RICHARD EM JOHN MOTHER MARTHA
1781 RICHARD EM JOHN MOTHER ELEANOR
1790 RICHARD EM SAMUEL MOTHER HANNAH 1794 THOMAS EM THOMAS MOTHER MARY
MARRIAGES: I think the location of marriage is where bride lived
1632 JOHN WM BRIDGETT of West Drayton Farm 1634 WILLIAM WM unk 1638 THOMAS WM ELIZABETH READE 1642 THOMAS WM unk 1648 JOHN Worksop Ann Burnes 1650 NATHANIEL F ANNE HINDE another record shows THOMAS 1662 HENRY TUX SARAH RODED *TUXFORD 1667 NATHANIEL F ? FLEAR he later marries Mary Lilley 1669 JOHN 1682 Wm Biliald EM ‘clandestine marriage’ to Eizabeth Ancliffe 1695 NATHANIEL F ELIZABETH 1724 THOMAS Worksop MARY BAXTER 1728 NATHANIEL F MARY HAWKESMORE 1729 WILLIAM EM ELIZABETH LAWRENCE
DEATHS: this list of males (others found not listed here)
1631 RICHARD EM 1687 WILLIAM EM 1697 THOMAS EM SON OF HENRY
1701 NATHANIEL F SPOUSE MARY LILLEY 1716 WILLIAM EM 1717 THOMAS BURIED IN HEADON 1718 JOHN EM several children SMALLPOX RAGED THROUGH ENGLAND ~1716-1718 1721 RICHARD EM 1723 THOMAS EM 1738 THOMAS EM 1742 THOMAS EM 1747 THOMAS EM 1767 THOMAS EM
Genealogy of the Illinois Bilyards
- To be discovered, sorted, pondered!!!
? ? ? ?
Billiald, Richard? Naming trend???
Billiald, Richard b. 1725 d. m. 7/27/1746
Smith, Martha b. d. Children: Robert b. Thomas b. Elizabeth b. 8/24/1746 East Markham, Nottinghamshire, England (William) b. 9/19/1748 not in Sharon’s information Martha b. 6/24/1750 East Markham, Nottinghamshire, England Ann b. 4/10/1752 East Markham, Nottinghamshire, England Richard* b. 7/31/1754 East Markham, Nottinghamshire, England John b. 5/7/1756 East Markham, Nottinghamshire, England
Billiald, Richard b. 7/31/1754 Gramson near East Markham, Nottinghamshire, England d. 1841 m. (3) 1. Hutton, Eleanor 2. Taylor, Hannah b. d. ~1793 West Markham, Nottinghamshire, England 3. Burnham, Martha 8/31/1798 West Markham, Nottinghamshire, England b. d. Children by Eleanor: Richard b. 12/25/1781 East Markham, Nottinghamshire, England John b. 4/24/1782 East Markham, Nottinghamshire, England Sarah b. ~1783 William b. 6/16/1784 East Markham, Nottinghamshire, England Children by Hannah: Samuel* b. 10/31/1790 East Markham, Nottinghamshire, England
George b./d. ~1793 Children by Martha: Martha b. 8/271799 West Markham, Nottinghamshire, England Abram b. 12/8/1800 West Markham, Nottinghamshire, England Thomas b. 1/11/1802 West Markham, Nottinghamshire, England
Billyard, Samuel* Spelling variation from Billiald occurred around 1800 b. ~1790 Markham, Nottinghamshire, England d. Feb. 12, 1875 Markham, Nottinghamshire, England m. 11/24/1812 West Markham, Nottingham, England
Mary Booth b. 1789 d. 1830 buried 2/1/1830 East Markham, Nottingham, England
Children: Christening information from familysearch.org Batch CO5527-1 John b. ~1813 c. 7/4/1813 East Markham, Nottingham, England Richard b. 10/1/1815 William* b. 1/10/1818 c. 1/18/1818 East Markham, Nottingham, England Martha c. 2/19/1821 East Markham, Nottingham, England Abraham c. 10/8/1826 d.5/8/1826 East Markham, Nottingham, England
Bilyard, William* Spelling variations: England Billyard; emigration manifest Billiard; IL Bilyard b. 1/10/1818 East Markham, Nottinghamshire, England d. 2/10/1888 Rockville Twp, Deselm, Kankakee Co.,IL
m. June qtr, 1847 Newark - document in file
Mary Ann Alcock (Allcock) Daughter of Samuel and Mary Anne (Starkes)or Hannah # CO5527-1 b. 1826-182812/18/1836 # CO5527-1 Sutton-on-Trent (or Mansfield), Nottingham d. 1914 Rockville Twp, Deselm, Kankakee Co.,IL
- University of Nottingham Manuscripts and Special Collections: www.mms-cat.nottingham.ac.uk
- Nottingham Marriages 1578-1600; Registers of Headon 1566-1812; Registers of Worksop 1558-1771: accessed through www.archives.org
- England Births, Burials, and Marriages: accessed through familysearch.org collections
- Notes from Sharon Brown- email@example.com and Sheila Medlock- Sheila@trickym.demon.co.uk
- Data from Andrew Billyard- http://billyard.ca/~jaf/andrew.html
- Early Billiald Branch
Billiald and Billiard, Billyard are surnames that are interchangable so I will list them as I find them.
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